The Chicago police have instituted a ban on protesting on the street where Lightfoot resides, and on Thursday Lightfoot defended the ban in an exchange with reporters.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot said “she and her family at times require heightened security because of threats she receives daily.
“Lightfoot refused to elaborate on the specific threats,” the report continued, “but said she receives them daily against herself, her wife and her home.”
As Lightfoot put it: “I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats that we are receiving on a daily basis, on a daily basis, understand I have a right to make sure that my home is secure.”
Interestingly, the ban appears to have been in place since July. “The directive surfaced in a July email from then-Shakespeare District Cmdr. Melvin Roman to officers under his command,” says the Tribune.
“Lightfoot and Chicago police Superintendent David Brown were asked at an unrelated news conference about … [the police banning] protesters from demonstrating on her block in the Logan Square neighborhood, ordering officers to arrest anyone who refuses to leave. …
“[The ban] did not distinguish between the peaceful protesters Lightfoot regularly says she supports and those who might intend to be destructive, but ordered that after a warning is given to demonstrators, ‘It should be locked down.’”
The Tribune notes that Lightfoot has separate, dedicated 24/7 security for both herself and her residence, and that the additional police vigilance required to keep protesters away from her street has caused some “grumbling” when it preoccupies law enforcement resources.
The grumbling may be compounded when Chicago residents see things like last week’s attack by rioters on a Ronald McDonald House, where the families of gravely ill children stay while the little patients are enduring extended ordeals of medical treatment in a nearby hospital. Granted, the Ronald McDonald House isn’t anyone’s private residence. But it isn’t clear how smashing the doors of a Ronald McDonald House and terrorizing the families and workers inside advances the cause of “justice” — or fits the description of exercising a “First Amendment” right.
While police were focused on keeping Lightfoot’s home secure, meanwhile, 430 people had died of homicides in Chicago by the end of July 2020 — many of them killed at their homes. According to the local ABC affiliate, “murders are up 51% compared to the period from January through July 2019,” and in July 2020 alone, the increase over July 2019 was 139%; the figures being 105 murders in July 2020 versus 44 in July 2019.
Quite a few Chicagoans understand very well feeling insecure in their homes. Whether their sympathy causes them to accept that Mayor Lightfoot’s residential block should have special protection against “First Amendment protests,” whereas ordinary citizens have little protection on their blocks against outright murder, is another story.